A day after Molly Munger said she would air television ads pinpointing flaws in Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, a coalition of educators, politicians and labor leaders called on the wealthy attorney to "re-think this destructive course of action."
Munger has already contributed more than $30 million toward her own measure, Proposition 38, which would hike income taxes on all but the poorest Californians to increase funding for schools and the state budget. Her measure trails Brown's Proposition 30 in polls, and she said Sunday on NBC 4 in Los Angeles that she will now air ads that make a "distinction" between her proposal and the governor's -- often a euphemism for attack spots.
The Yes on 30 campaign responded today with a letter calling on her to avoid negative attacks, asserting that school supporters "know well that it is our students who will pay the price if you insist on risking billions of dollars in cuts to our schools and universities just to pass your initiative."
The list of signatories included Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, California Teachers Association President Dean E. Vogel, State Board of Education President Michael Kirst and Service Employees International Union - California Executive Director David Kieffer.
Munger joined the chorus of critics who accused the Brown campaign of exaggerating the extent to which Proposition 30 would help education. She said Sunday, "If you're going to say that you're something you're not, we do have to say, 'Well, actually, that's not the case.'"
Her statement came after her brother, Charles Munger Jr., donated millions to a committee that has been helping anti-tax groups pay for No on 30 ads. The Mungers' father, Charles Munger, is a billionaire investor with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Corporation.
The Yes on 30 coalition took a personal shot in their letter Monday. "If you launch these Prop. 30 comparison attack ads you will be the second Munger spending millions against our students and schools," the coalition wrote. "In the end, the Munger family could be known as the millionaires who destroyed California's schools and universities."
Update (4:50 p.m.): Molly Munger's campaign isn't backing down, according to spokesman Nathan Ballard. He said the following: "We really appreciate the campaign advice contained in the letter. However, we believe that voters are smart enough to make up their own minds between Prop. 30 and Prop. 38, and we will not shy away from making a comparison between the two measures because we believe Prop. 38 is far better for our schools than any other measure on the ballot."